10.02.2016

When You’re Lonely and Feeling Less Than, May You Remember the One Who Calls You By Name

Dear Bella,

This is a letter to you. But it’s a letter to me. Even as I type the words on the page, I know that I’m trying to tell you what I tell myself.

Loneliness crept in this week at school for you.  You didn’t tell me right away. You waited until late at night, with the last minutes before bedtime before us, as I tucked you in. Your words were whispered into my ear, but you may as well have shouted into my heart.

“I waited all recess for them to come and ask me to play, and they never did. I kept waiting against the wall, hoping they would see me. But they only saw each other.”

Tears fell hot, hard and fast. As I squeezed you close, I felt some of mine mix with some of yours. Shared tears and shared hearts. I would love to tell you the loneliness goes away, and when you grow up, it’s all gone. Kind of like the gappy teeth. Just give it some time (or some braces), and this too shall pass.

But loneliness seems to fight for space in our hearts even when we think we’ve conquered the crushing loneliness of life. I whispered into your ear of a loneliness that has sometimes felt almost palpable to me, a feeling I know you feel, too. If I’m honest, I fear you have too much of my heart – the loneliness sometimes lingers with no rhyme or reason to its appearance.

My loneliness has left me vulnerable. It rears its head in the most unlikely places, at the strangest times. In a room full of friends, I’ll feel isolated and out of sync. I fought for years against a loneliness that made me want to shut out the world, shut in my heart, and shut the door to hurt.

Redirecting the loneliness has redirected my path. My prayer is that it redirects yours.

Here’s what author Sharon A. Hersh whisper writes about loneliness that whispered deep into my soul so many years ago. She explains that “relationships are wonderful and painful; they are what we were made for, but they are sometimes out of our reach. They quench our thirst for a moment, but leave us thirsty for more.”

 

loneliness

Your friends left you out for a recess. You can’t make them pick you. No matter how hard your heart longs for inclusion, you can’t force a hand that isn’t yours.

And here is the beauty in the broken places of a lonely heart.

Your deepest longings reflect your longing for Him. Even loneliness redirects your heart toward Him. 

I wish I had grasped that truth tight during my teen years and twenties. All loneliness is a bit of jealousy if we’re honest. Though I’ve learned to love the loneliness as a lingering reminder of His great longing toward me, the lonely places are a bit of jealous places, too.

You sat against a wall, jealous of what they were doing, and that you weren’t a part.

Hersh doesn’t flinch against the root of jealousy in all loneliness. “The roots of jealousy reveal the holy longing for relationships that God has written in our hearts.”

Longing for relationship is good. But “relationships are not an end in themselves, but the means to an end – a force to lead me into an intimate relationship with God,” Hersh writes.

It can happen so quickly. Even today, a quiet Sunday afternoon turned into a bit of a loneliness that no one seemed to notice that our Sunday was quiet. What started as a thankful space for a little time at home turned into a little loneliness that maybe we weren’t wanted.

I encouraged you this week with these words.

“Let your loneliness send you running fast to a God whose extravagant love is the only thing that will ever satisfy.”

I said it to my own self, today.

“Let me rest in a God who adores, desires and embraces.”

And the afternoon shifted into a quiet place of rest again. I almost let loneliness take that away for a moment. But moments of loneliness ought lead us closer to Him. It’s what I prayed for you as I held you close the other night. That your lonely heart would lead you straight to a God who longs for you.

Your lonely heart is one He longs to hold.

 

 


Comments

  1. I’ve read every word of the last 6 letters, and I look forward to hearing ur wisdom with excitement. Ill b a better, more compasionate, more honest, better prepared mother, wife, boss, coworker, and child because you share these pieces of your soul and world for me to know and be moved by them. Thank u for taking the time to inspire

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